Soccer-Canada, Mexico and Jamaica take charge in CONCACAF
Sept 7 |
Sept 7 (Reuters) - Canada and Mexico took big steps towards the next phase of World Cup qualification after wins in the CONCACAF region on Friday while Jamaica tasted victory over the United States for the first time.
At the half-way stage in the third round of qualifying in North and Central America and the Caribbean, Mexico are the only team with a 100 percent record after they picked up a third win in three games with a 2-0 victory at Costa Rica in group B.
Both Mexican goals came from corners with Carlos Salcido putting 'El Tri' ahead two minutes before the break and then Jesus Zavala adding the second in the 52nd minute.
Jamaica are now outright leaders in group A, with seven points, after they came from behind to beat the United States 2-1 and leave the Americans level on four points with Guatemala.
Clint Dempsey put the U.S. in front after just 36 seconds but two long-range goals from free-kicks from Rodolph Austin (24) and Luton Shelton (62) kicked off a party at the National Stadium in Kingston.
"Jamaica deserved the win, they were hungrier and they were more determined. After the equaliser they rose to the occasion," said U.S. coach Juergen Klinsmann.
Guatemala suffered a scare against Antigua and Barbuda, falling behind to a Peter Byers goal in the 38th minute but Carlos Ruiz scored twice before Dwight Pezzarossi slid in at the back post in injury time to wrap up a 3-1 win.
Canada are the surprise leaders in group C, on seven points, after a Dwayne De Rosario goal gave them a 1-0 win in Toronto over Panama, who are now a point behind the Canadians and two ahead of Honduras.
De Rosario's record 20th goal for his country came in the 77th minute, as he reacted to a quick free kick by Atiba Hutchinson to fire past Panama keeper Jaime Penedo.
"It was good to score, good to get the points and the atmosphere was fantastic. I thought the first half was some of the best we've played and I said at halftime that the goal would come," said Canada head coach Stephen Hart.
Honduras remain in the chase though after they picked up their first win in group C with a 3-0 victory over Cuba in Havana - Jerry Bengtson (31), Victor Bernandez (63) and Marvin Chavez (90+2) getting the goals.
Guyana's chances of making it to the final six stage of the qualifying competition are remote but they showed signs of their progress with a 2-2 draw in El Salvador.
Treyon Bobb equalised twice for Guyana after goals from Isidro Gutierrez and Osael Romero for an El Salvador team who are two points behind Costa Rica in group B.
Friday's fixtures will now be reversed for Tuesday's return games.
(Editing by Ian Ransom)
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